Introduction: Sanitaire S661B Fan Replacement

Your vacuum just stopped sucking, and not in a good way. You hear a rattling sound when you shake the vacuum. Looking at the bottom of your running vacuum, the brushes are still spinning, but no air is being pulled in.

The fan blades in your vacuum have exploded.

To do this repair, you will need:

  1. T-20 Torx driver
  2. needle-nose pliers
  3. crescent wrench (not strictly necessary)
  4. channel locks (if you don't have a wrench)
  5. replacement fan for your vacuum

Step 1: Check the Model Number and Order a Replacement Fan

Check to see that you have an S661B by flipping your vacuum over and checking out the label. Hopefully the sticker is still there.

You'll want a Electrolux/Eureka/Sanitaire 12988 model fan. They come in a variety of materials, including Lexan! I opted for a plain plastic one. Regardless of what you get, make sure it's listed as compatible with your Sanitaire S661B. There are apparently multiple fans with model number 12988 and you don't want to get stuck with a part that won't fit.

Step 2: Wait for Your Fan to Arrive

Sit in your messy home and stew about how upsetting it is that you can't vacuum it.

Step 3: Remove the Vacuum Channel Cover

Turn the two metal locking tabs that hold the cover in place. Remove the cover.

Step 4: Detach the Brush Drive Belt

Turn the mount on the left while simultaneously lifting the belt up and off the drive. Turning the assembly makes removal a cinch, though it's possible to just force the belt off. Forcing is not recommended.

Once the belt is off, the brush assembly just lifts out.

Step 5: Remove the Cover and Handle-release Retention Clips

There are two retention clips for the cover. There's another spring that keeps the handle-release foot-pedal from flopping around. You can leave that one alone.

The two retention clips should have a curl to them that lets you grab them with your pliers. Simply pulling on them slightly to free them from their detents will let you take the cover off.

Step 6: Remove the Dial-a-Nap Dial

It lifts off. Gently pry it with a screwdriver. If you feel like you're damaging the vacuum, you're prying too hard. Lifting up on the cover will also cause it to pop off.

Step 7: Lift Up the Cover

It just lifts up. Now you can see the motor and the nifty light bulb.

You should also see the heads of four bolts that hold the motor down.

Step 8: Remove the 4 Bolts Holding the Motor Down

You will need the T-20 Torx wrench to remove the bolts. One bolt might be shorter than the others. That's ok.

Step 9: Remove the Fragments of the Destroyed Fan

This will take some "finesse". I didn't have a wrench big enough to go around the bolt (i.e. no box wrench and no crescent wrench). I ended up using channel locks around the bolt, and pliers to hold the motor shaft still.

Step 10: Put the New Fan in Place

The fan goes between the two friction discs.

Tighten down the bolt once the fan is in place. I used channel locks and used my fingers to hold the new fan still.

Step 11: Bolt the Motor Back Down

One bolt was shorter than the others on my vacuum. That bolt went in the back-left bolt-hole. Use your T-20 Torx drive to put them back in.

Don't forget to also screw down the light bulb bracket with the front right bolt.

Step 12: Reattach Retention Springs

In case you went ahead and removed the foot-pedal spring clip, you need to reattach that first.

Place on hook around the detent in the foot pedal and drop the spring through the larger square-shaped hole.

Keeping a finger on the spring on the detent, turn the vacuum over.

With pliers, pull the spring on the underside and hook it around the plastic to keep the foot-pedal taut.

For the retention springs, first put the cover back down.

Hold the cover while turning the vacuum back over to access the underside.

With pliers around the curlicue portion of the retention spring, slip the hooked end up into the gap and catch the metal indentation in the cover before pulling the curlicue end into the plastic notch.

Repeat on the other side.

Step 13: Reattach the Brush, Drive Belt, Nap Dial, and Cover

Place the belt around the brush tube before putting the brush in its slot.

The brush ends are asymmetric, so there's a right way and a wrong way to put it in. Orient the point so that it fits the void in the vacuum.

The dial-a-nap dial has notches that orient it correctly to its mating surface. If you're using a hammer to attach it, stop and try again. It should go on easily if you have it oriented correctly.

The cover goes back on easily if you've moved the two metal tabs out of the way before pressing it in place and securing it with the two tabs.

Step 14: Vacuum Your Home

Stop being so dirty.